(This is the conclusion of a three-part post. As before, all emphases in bold are my own.)
Once the applicant for the JREF's million dollar prize has been finally accepted for testing, he's "in," right?
Wrong. He can still be dismissed at any time, at JREF's sole discretion, if he is deemed guilty of bad behavior.
Section 6 of The JREF Million Dollar Challenge FAQ goes into exhaustive detail about this. Again, I urge you to read the whole thing. Here are some highlights:
The Challenge Administrator may close your file and reject all future applications submitted by you based upon negative behavior.
The following are some examples of the type of behavior than can result in the rejection of your claim:
1. Continuous Belligerence, Hostility or Obstinacy. Repeated use of Profanity Following Warnings from The JREF asking you to STOP. Willfully or Unreasonably Delaying the Application Process (for reasons that can only be considered vain). Canceling a Test at the Last Minute (for reasons that can only be considered "vain"). Threatening Legal Action Against The JREF or its Employees & Investigators. Slandering the JREF or its Employees. Making Libelous Accusations (such as insisting that the Challenge itself is a Sham/Fraud or that Randi himself is a liar and a cheat who will never award the prize money even if the Applicant Passes the Tests). A Consistently Aggressive or Violent Tone in Correspondence.
2. A Proven Inability to Comprehend or Accept the Rules of The Challenge.
The JREF alone determines when an applicant's behavior is unacceptable. There is no Appeal Process, and there is no mediator.
This rule applies both to private correspondence and communications between the applicant and the Challenge administrator, as well as the JREF forum, which all applicants are welcome (and encouraged) to join....
You have the right to have your say, but don't expect it to be allowed to continue beyond the point of what is deemed Reasonable.
All forum members have the right to state their position. If you chose to abuse that right, you will lose it.
At that point, you can also expect to have any further applications you submit discarded upon receipt. The JREF is NOT compelled to accept subsequent applications from persons who have proven themselves impossible to deal with on a reasonable level.
Dissenters and JREF opponents will always be allowed a voice on the forum, but it must be a civil voice, and a voice that does not break the forum rules. If a member, any member, behaves in a manner that ultimately saps JREF resources — even when there may not have been any forum rules broken — that person may nonetheless be viewed as a detriment and a hindrance to the JREF mission. It is well within reason for any organization to eliminate obstacles that might prevent it from operating nominally whenever possible.
So, if you wish to see your claim tested (and if you wish to remain a forum member), behave appropriately.
The JREF is in no way required to test your claim regardless of how you behave. Other applicants have believed so and been sorely disappointed by the facts.
Remember; it's the JREF Paranormal Challenge, and The JREF alone dictates the rules surrounding it and how it is run, so, if your nature is to quickly turn belligerent and rude, or to accuse the JREF of being disingenuous, you should not apply.
Notice that the applicant can be dismissed for behaving "in a manner that ultimately saps JREF resources - even when there may not have been any forum rules broken." This is as vague a formulation as one could ask for, and covers virtually any behavior whatsoever. Who, after all, is to say what "ultimately saps JREF resources"?
Moreover, we are told that the applicant can be dismissed for "insisting that the Challenge itself is a Sham/Fraud or that Randi himself is a liar and a cheat," or even for "accus[ing] the JREF of being disingenuous." But what if the applicant sincerely feels that the procedure is unfair - perhaps that it's being unduly dragged out, or that unreasonable obstacles are being placed in his way? To voice these objections, not only in the forum but even in "private correspondence and communication," is to invite dismissal. So the candidate is effectively silenced before his test has even been run.
So what have we learned? Even after an applicant has succeded in qualifying for the challenge - which is clearly no easy task - he can still be rejected at any time for "negative behavior." Acting as judge and jury, JREF can dismiss any applicant for being "rude" or "hostile" or even for suggesting that JREF itself is misbehaving. Evidently, any criticism of JREF's procedures can also be grounds for dismissal.
At every stage of the process, the applicant finds himself facing long odds - and not just because he may or may have the ability to demonstrate a paranormal phenomenon. The application process is arduous and time-consuming, often requiring multiple resubmissions over a period of months or even years. Applicants can be rejected for virtually any reason, including the "incredible" nature of their claims. Applicants may be placed in the position of trying to prove they are not mentally ill. Applicants are effectively muzzled from criticizing JREF or Randi either publicly or privately, and may be dismissed at any time for a variety of offenses subjectively determined by JREF administrators, including rudeness and "sap[ping] JREF resources." JREF is the final authority in all cases; there is no mediator and no appeal. Since no lists of applicants and outcomes have been made available on the Internet by JREF, and since Randi himself does not seem to know the number of claimants who've actually been tested, we can only guess at how many people succeed in reaching even the preliminary testing stage. By Randi's own estimate, the number is small, with the "vast majority" of applicants failing to negotiate the application process, or dropping out or being dismissed before the test is attempted.
Given all this, is it really such a mystery that the more sophisticated researchers and test subjects in the paranormal field steer clear of the much-publicized JREF Challenge?